A Personal Challenge: G-PEE-S

At the beginning of the corona pandemic, I lost my job. Not an uncommon story, sadly: most Americans lost their jobs. I was lucky enough to find one about three weeks later, just as my savings was running out, as a driver for Amazon. Now as an essential worker, I spend ten hours a day driving around southwest Washington delivering packages for people. One of the worst parts of this particular job was the absence of places to relieve myself. Southwest Washington is largely backwoods country roads or full of smaller gas stations and convenience stores that don’t have any open bathrooms due to the virus still being a looming menace in all of our lives.

After spending 30 minutes driving around trying to find a public restroom, I angrily began wondering if there was some kind of app to help you find the closest bathroom. I couldn’t be the only courier that dealt with this kind of problem. Adding this feature to the navigation app Amazon drivers use could prove exponentially useful. It was a truly infuriating half hour driving to 6 different places trying to find a bathroom. So, let’s map it out, shall we?

Here is a map of the Amazon flex app as done by me. Fairly simple layout when no work is scheduled: when the driver is on duty, more options appear allowing the driver to start work, pick up the packages for the day and travel to the first stop. It is a good app, when it wants to work right. Pray you don’t get sent out into the boonies where there’s no signal and your maps stop working because then you are on your own.

However, that is a completely different conversation. This is an exploration of what a ‘Find a Bathroom’ option would look like. Thinking back to my harrowing 30 minutes attempting to find an open bathroom, I would imagine this option would work best in the hamburger menu with ‘Home’, ‘Settings’ and ‘Breaks’. When I need to go, I don’t have the time or patience to be digging through menu options.

So, the most logical option would be to place it just below ‘Breaks’ in the hamburger menu and, thinking as someone whose bladder is alarmingly full, I want the GPS to know my location and show me open bathrooms close to me. Ideally, it would show up much like the maps on the delivery screens and would show me pins of where bathrooms were inside the business. If that is too specific, (admittedly, I am not quite sure of the breadth and depth of what is possible in terms of coding) then a note would come up of where inside the business the bathroom was, had the driver who registered that particular bathroom provided such information.

If I discovered a new bathroom that I wanted to register, I would click on ‘Register a new bathroom’ and fill out the address, name of the business and type a note on where it was inside the store if I don’t want to or don’t have time to figure out where inside the business the bathroom exactly is. A quick confirmation screen of all the information I provided and bam: I’ve registered a new bathroom and possibly saved a future driver from a bladder-splitting headache. Hopefully after the pandemic, this won’t be such an issue.